Inter-American Development Bank is lending Uruguay $34 million to modernize its milk production and reduce the dairy industry's operating costs by improving roads and providing electrical service to rural areas.

The project will improve dairy production in the departments of Colonia, San Jose, Florida and Canelones in southern Uruguay, a region that accounts for 81 percent of the country's milk production.

Electric service will be made available to 1,560 milk producers. Present service also will be improved, allowing more use of electric milking and milk cooling equipment.

Uruguay gives the program priority as part of its effort to make agriculture a key element in the recovery of its economy. Uruguay's livestock, farming and fishery sector now generates 90 percent of the nation's exports and a large portion of the raw materials used by local industry. The dairy industry has been the most dynamic of the country's livestock activities.

The IDB also has lent Venezuela $153.4 million to help increase the supply of drinkable water for that nation's central region, whose population will reach an estimated 3.5 million by the year 2000.

Venezuela's central region is the most developed region in the country. Surface water in the region is scarce and underground sources are overexploited. Twenty percent of the nation's population lacks reliable water and must buy water from trucks.

The project will increase water flow by five cubic meters per second from the La Balsa reservoir on the Pao River, and will include the installation of 110,000 water meters in Valencia and Maracay to give 70 percent of the population metered water service.

The loan will also help start a program designed to reduce the amount of unaccounted water consumption from 43 percent of production to 39 percent by the end of 1991 and to 37 percent by 1995.